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Macy Chiasson poses on the scale during the UFC Fight Night weigh-in at UFC APEX on March 15, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
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Macy Chiasson: From TUF Winner To Tough Tests

After Winning Season 28 Of The Ultimate Fighter In Only Her Third Pro Fight, Macy Chiasson Has Had To Do Her Learning In The Octagon. Now She's On The Cusp Of Contention At 135 Pounds.

Five years on from her career-changing victory on The Ultimate Fighter, Macy Chiasson is chasing contender status as she continues her remarkable journey on the sport’s biggest stage.

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Fighters, even up-and-coming prospects, tend to arrive in the UFC with a solid body of work on their resume. But Chiasson’s ascent to the Octagon came much earlier than it does for most.

Hanging TUF

Macy Chiasson prepares to fight Pannie Kianzad during The Ultimate Fighter Finale event inside The Pearl concert theater at Palms Casino Resort on November 30, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Macy Chiasson prepares to fight Pannie Kianzad during The Ultimate Fighter Finale event inside The Pearl concert theater at Palms Casino Resort on November 30, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

After three years on the amateur scene, Chiasson turned pro in late 2017 and picked up a couple wins before being selected to join the cast for The Ultimate Fighter: Heavy Hitters. Chiasson was the first female pick by coach Kelvin Gastelum, and she backed up the middleweight contender’s faith by claiming a big win right out the gate.

Brazil’s Larissa Pacheco entered the house with an 11-2 pro record, with her only losses coming in the UFC against world-level opposition in the form of Jessica Andrade and Germaine de Randamie. By contrast, Chiasson had competed under pro rules just twice, and certainly hadn’t faced the same caliber of opposition as Pacheco.

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But none of that mattered. Chiasson completely dominated Pacheco en route to a first-round TKO victory that sent a real statement to the rest of the house. Another first-round finish, this time against Leah Letson, earned her a spot in the final against Iranian-Swedish fighter Pannie Kianzad, who she defeated via second-round rear-naked choke to win the season. Chiasson may have been one of the least experienced fighters in the house, but she stayed the course to win a UFC contract, and a shot at the big time.

First Steps

Macy Chiasson punches Lina Lansberg of Sweden in their women's bantamweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at Royal Arena on September 28, 2019 in Copenhagen, Denmark. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Macy Chiasson punches Lina Lansberg of Sweden in their women's bantamweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at Royal Arena on September 28, 2019 in Copenhagen, Denmark. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

That victory saw Chiasson join the UFC as she dropped down to bantamweight and made an instant impact with a first-round TKO of Gina Mazany at UFC 235.

Chiasson’s rangy frame made her a formidable physical puzzle for opponents to solve, and a second TKO finish, over Sarah Moras, in a short-notice second appearance two months later, saw Chiasson pick up a Performance of the Night bonus on a card packed with established crowd-pleasers Donald Cerrone, Shane Burgos, and Cub Swanson.

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After that victory, Chiasson admitted that she was setting her sights on the bantamweight Top 10. But, just as she was starting to build some momentum, she hit a roadblock in the form of Sweden’s Lina Lansberg.

A three-round war with “The Elbow Queen” in Copenhagen, Denmark saw the pair engage in a grueling back-and-forth battle. It allowed Chiasson to showcase her sheer toughness, but it ultimately ended in her first career defeat.

Bouncing Back

Macy Chiasson kicks Marion Reneau in their bantamweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on March 20, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Macy Chiasson kicks Marion Reneau in their bantamweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on March 20, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Chiasson went back to the drawing board, then bounced back with a pair of unanimous decision victories. Her victory over Shanna Young saw Chiasson at her dominant best as she claimed a landslide win on the scorecards, with 30-26s across the board in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. Then she showed her mettle to defeat one of the division’s longest-tenured campaigners, Marion Reneau.

In a mature performance, Chiasson dropped the first round to the Octagon veteran on all three scorecards but rallied to claim rounds two and three for a come-from-behind unanimous decision victory.

It was a pivotal win for her career as she pushed herself towards contender status, and after the fight she acknowledged how her mental strength pulled her through to earn the win.

“Composure is the biggest thing,” she said backstage at the UFC APEX.

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“I had two fights when I got in the UFC. I’m 8-1 now, so I’ve had to learn a lot of lessons – like my loss to Lina Lansberg – and not keeping my composure when I’m in bad spots. I didn’t execute the gameplan like I wanted to, but I think I kept my composure and actually had fun. That’s what it’s supposed to be about.

“I’ve been trying to focus on cognitive behavior and knowing when my body needs rest. I’ve been trying to do more for myself outside of fighting. So, mental health was a big thing for me. I feel like I’ve really worked on that and it showed

“I’ve been working on my mentality and being in the moment. It’s really translated over. Even though the fight was a close decision and there were exchanges where I lost, I still worked through that. That’s a big win for me.”

Leveling Up

Macy Chiasson reacts after the conclusion of her bantamweight fight against Marion Reneau during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on March 20, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Macy Chiasson reacts after the conclusion of her bantamweight fight against Marion Reneau during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on March 20, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

With back-to-back wins giving her some momentum, Chiasson moved up in class, both in terms of size and opponent, as she returned to featherweight to face Raquel Pennington. The result didn’t go her way, as she lost via second-round guillotine choke. But she bounced back five months later with a hard-earned split-decision victory over Brazil’s Norma Dumont at UFC 274.

The bout saw Chiasson mix up her martial arts much more than we’d seen in the past, as she turned to her non-striking skills to help take a close decision on the scorecards. It gave Chiasson her eighth career victory and proved to be another example of her using her Fight IQ to find the best route to victory, and taking it.

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“I really wanted to come out and show that I could wrestle and grapple. I may have done it a little too much,” she told Joe Rogan in the Octagon after her victory.

“I did what I had to do to get the win, and that’s what it’s about.

Macy Chiasson has her hands wrapped prior to her fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on March 20, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC)
Macy Chiasson has her hands wrapped prior to her fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on March 20, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC)

"I just wanted to show all of the other areas that I’m getting better in. I know it’s going to take time to put it all together. I’m still growing. I have a lot to learn (and) I have a lot to learn from more tough opponents like that. But, at the end of the day, it’s all about getting your hand raised.”

That win earned Chiasson a fight with highly ranked contender Irene Aldana at UFC 279. Unfortunately for Chiasson, after a closely contested fight that went into the final round with the fight level on the scorecards, a rarely seen up-kick to the liver shut down Chiasson midway through the final round as she fell to the first knockout loss of her career.

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The somewhat freak nature of the finish drew headlines for Aldana and earned her a shot at then-bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes. But Chiasson’s performance prior to that kick showed that, despite the loss, she had progressed her game to be considered a threat to any ranked contender at 135 pounds.

The Next Step

Macy Chiasson kicks Irene Aldana of Mexico in a 140-pound catchweight fight during the UFC 279 event at T-Mobile Arena on September 10, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Macy Chiasson kicks Irene Aldana of Mexico in a 140-pound catchweight fight during the UFC 279 event at T-Mobile Arena on September 10, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Now 9-3 as a pro and listed 10th in the UFC’s official women’s bantamweight rankings, Chiasson will get a chance to make inroads towards the division’s top five when she faces familiar foe Kianzad at UFC Vegas 88 this weekend. The bout at the UFC APEX will be Chiasson’s first career rematch as she takes on the woman she defeated to earn her place in the UFC back in November 2018.

Both have been through a lot since that meeting, and both have significantly improved as fighters, too. After having to develop her craft under the bright lights of the Octagon, Chiasson is now ready to show that she can be a contender at 135 pounds. That will require constant improvement, and plenty of competition, but Chiasson is well used to both, and she’s welcoming the challenges that are still to come.

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“Eventually I want to be champ, but it’s about seeing that consistent growth. If it takes fighting every six months to get that bit better, then so be it,” she said after her win over Reneau.

“When I first got into the UFC, I just wanted to fight, because that’s what we do. We forget that we have to have fun, get better and enjoy the process. If we’re not having fun, then what are we here for?”

UFC Fight Night: Tuivasa vs Tybura took place live from UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada on March 16, 2024. See the final Prelims and Main Card Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass